Pastor Todd Painter
The world has an idea of separation, and Satan would like to instill in many of our young preachers this idea. I would like to take few moments to explain this in hopes that it can be a help to a young preacher somewhere, so they don’t get sucked in. Now, just what is the world’s idea of separation?
I think that if we are to get a clear picture of the world’s idea of separation we need to go to the book of Exodus. For I firmly believe it is very clearly found there, especially to the Bible student that is armed with the knowledge that “Egypt” is a representation of the world (meaning the world system). The Bible student should also have knowledge that the Pharaoh, who rules over Egypt is a good representation of Satan (the god of this world). Now we can move into the book of Exodus and piece together the world’s idea of separation.
Exodus 1:7-10 tells us exactly what the problem was to the Egyptians; Pharaoh didn’t want these Israelites taking them over one day. The Devil and the world system doesn’t want the New Testament church taking them over one day. The world despises anything that might take its place. You see, you can try to change the world, or make it a better place, but that situation really only takes root and bears fruit once Jesus comes back to rule and reign. Until that time, you will have to practice separation from the world, which is difficult at times since we physically live in the world. However, it can be done and should be done.
The world’s idea of separation is clearly defined through this Egyptian picture where the Bible says in Exodus 8:25, “And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land.” In other words, you can separate to God, but do it in the world. You don’t need to change anything! Pharaoh is content they should sacrifice to their God, provided they would do it in the land of Egypt. God can extort a toleration of his worship, even from those that are really enemies to it. Pharaoh, under the pain of the rod, is content they should do sacrifice, and will allow this liberty of conscience to God's children, as long as it is in Pharaoh’s own land. Moses will not accept this, and he shouldn’t have!
The world can tolerate our separation to God as long as we don’t separate from them. You can have Jesus and the movies. You can have Jesus and the rock music. You can have Jesus and the shorts on the females and the males. You can have Jesus and the long hippie hair on the males along with the short bobbed hair on the females. You can have the Bible and a Harry Potter book. You can have your God, but still be with us and a part of us. You can have your services, just make sure that there is a drum set in there playing. You can worship, just do it while you dance to an electric guitar. Go ahead and worship your God, just do it in the land! After all they had many gods in the land of Egypt, the Israelites God would just be another god in the land to them.
The second idea the word has can be seen in Exodus 8:28 “And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: intreat for me.” When the suggestion is rejected, Pharaoh consents for them to go into the wilderness, provided they do not go very far away. If they are not so far away, then he (meaning Pharaoh) will easily be able to fetch them back again. It is probable he had heard of their plan for Canaan, and suspected that once they left Egypt they would never come back again; and therefore, when he is forced to consent that they shall go (the swarms of flies buzzing the necessity in his ears), yet he is not willing that they should go out too far.
Now, what Pharaoh was truly saying here was, you can go be separated, but not very far. The world’s idea on separation is the same thing. In other words, don’t become a fanatic. Go to church on Sunday morning, but not Sunday night. Attend a seminar once in a while, but don’t get yourself too committed. Find a church that is open minded. Find a church that is more liberal and not too rigid. If you must separate to God and from us, don’t go too far away. Why? Because just like Pharaoh wanted the Israelites in arms reach so he could fetch them back, the world wants you and I in arms reach too, so we might be easily fetched back. Folks, God wants us to separate far away, but the world wants us right on the line, not too far away. If we keep ourselves only a little separated, then the world can grab us quickly and easily. It is easy to fall back into the world, that is why we must separate far, far away. If we stay close, we will be sucked back. The pull of the world’s pleasure is strong. We must guard ourselves and insulate ourselves. The best way is to distance ourselves. The world’s idea is to stay close by if you must separate.
The third idea is found in Exodus 10:9-11, where Moses insists that they should take their whole families, and all their effects, along with them. (Truthfully, those that serve God must serve him with all they have, leaving absolutely nothing behind.) Moses here is pleading that they must hold a feast. Therefore they must have their families to feast with, and their flocks and herds to feast upon, to the honor of their God. However, Pharaoh will by no means allow this: he will allow the men to go, pretending that this was all they desired, even though this matter was never mentioned in any of their previous agreements. However, the little ones, Pharaoh decided he wants to keep them as hostages, to try to force them to return. He curses them and threatens that, if they remove their little ones, they will do it at a danger to themselves.
Pharaoh was saying here, you can be separated, but leave the kids behind. Just the men can go, don’t take your family. In other words, the world says, let the kids enjoy life and living. No reason to ruin all their fun. The world likes it when we keep our kids worldly and unseparated. Truly, Satan does all he can to hinder those that serve God themselves from bringing their children in to serve Him too. He is a sworn enemy to our spirituality of us and our family. Satan knows how destructive it is to the interests of his kingdom; whatever would stop us from getting our children into God's service, we have reason to suspect that the hand of Satan is involved in it.
The fourth idea that world has about separation is found in Exodus 10:24-25, when Pharaoh is telling them here to go ahead and be separated, but don’t take any sacrifices with you. The world doesn’t mind so much if we don’t make any true sacrifices in our Christian separation. Don’t give to a sacrificial offering, you need to spend that money on your family. Take them out to eat or to the store to buy some new clothing. Don’t sacrifice your time on a bus route all day on Saturday, you need to take your family fishing. The list could go on and on. If a Christian separates but brings no sacrifice, then their separation is in vain. How many “our four and no more churches” are there in our land? Quite a few, and every one of them is worthless. They are separated from the world, but they help no one. They are separated from the world, but they aren’t truly separated unto God. They have no ministries and no outreach. They don’t contribute much financially for the work. They are typically unfriendly to everyone outside of their little-separated click. The reason is because their hearts are not right.
The Bible gives us the only answer for this as found in Psalms 51:17, “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.” The only way to have a right heart is by bringing sacrifice with your separation. We must have “… a broken and a contrite heart …” otherwise we will not be of any use to God Almighty. Now that we see the world’s idea of separation let’s look to the Bible so we can practice God’s idea.
“Give me 100 preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God; such alone will shake the gates of hell.” -John Wesley